Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Last approval under the Royal Marriages Act?

At the December 12, 2012 Privy Council meeting, Queen Elizabeth II made the following declaration:

"My Lords,

I declare My Consent to a Contract of Marriage between My Cousin Louise Alexandra Patricia Nicolson and Charles Christopher Thomas Morshead, which Consent I am causing to be signified under the Great Seal and to be entered into the Books of the Privy Council."

Louise Nicolson is the eldest child of Captain and the Hon. Mrs. Mark Nicolson.  Mrs. Nicolson is the former the Hon. Katharine Fraser, who is the heir to her mother, Lady Saltoun.

Louise and Charles will be married in May.

Will Louise be the last person to request permission to marry according to the requirements of the Royal Marriages Act?   The Royal Marriages Act was passed during the reign of George III, and applies to descendants of George II, apart from the descendants of Princesses who married into foreign families.

The Royal Marriage Act will be superseded by a new law that will limit the number of persons who will be required to seek permission to marry.   Only the first six in the line of succession will need permission to marry. 

Louise is a descendant of Queen Victoria's third son, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, who married Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia. Their youngest child, Princess Patricia, married the Hon. Alexander Ramsay in 1919.   The couple had one child, Alexander Ramsay of Mar, who married the Hon. Flora Fraser, who succeeded her father as Lady Saltoun. 

Alexander Ramsay and Lady Saltoun had three daughters: Hon. Katharine, a goddaughter of Queen Ingrid of Denmark, Hon. Alice and the Hon. Elizabeth. 

Katharine's surname was changed to Fraser as she will succeed her mother.  Her only son Alexander was registered with the surname Fraser, while his two sisters have the surname Nicolson.

The proposed legislation is expected to be voted on in early 2013, and become law in the United Kingdom before the Duchess of Cambridge gives birth.

Louise Nicolson will become a historical footnote: the last descendant of George II who was required to seek permission to marry according to the Royal Marrriages Act.  Her children will not need that permission.

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